Ayanda Daweti, also known as Tuckshop Bafanaz, is both talented and passionate. The 32-year-old musician and actor is no stranger to our screens.
On eTV’s Scandal, he breathed life into the character of Chumani – a young man from a wealthy family who held the position of CEO at Nyathi Family Holdings (NFH).
Currently, he has revisited his years of youth through the character of Sizwe who is a grade 11 pupil on the much-loved telenovela Gomora.
In musical spaces, he is known as Tuckshop Bafanaz and is set to release a heartfelt and personal musical project this week.
The nine-track tape, Nomalizo, is titled after his late mother and is a spiritual dialogue between mother and son.
<Subhead>: Raised right
Born in Mdantsane, Eastern Cape, to a single mother, Daweti’s childhood was characterised with love, morality, identity and charitable values. He lived with his mother and older sister until the tragic passing of his mother when he was 12 years old.
“I then had to move to rural Eastern Cape – my dad’s side of the family. I stayed with my granny, aunts, uncles and cousins in a small village in Tsolo. It was a beautiful experience compared to the township life I was used to as a kid,” he said.
It is his village life that ultimately played a huge part in moulding the kind of man he is today. He was able to learn more about the Xhosa culture as well as the culture of community.
“I get a lot of my morals, ethics and values from my grandmother. To be grounded and have love and sympathy for the next person,” he added.
Destined for the arts
Although much of his upbringing took place in a rural setting where there was minimal exposure to the arts, Daweti always believed in the validity of his dreams. In fact, acting is something he has always loved and done effortlessly.
“I’ve always been a performer, I remember when myself and my cousin used to mimic our uncle who used to bite his teeth whenever frustrated,” he shared laughingly.
As a pupil, Daweti was also involved in programs such as Love Life which sought to educate youngsters on social issues and a healthy lifestyle using the arts.
However, trying to navigate his burning passion for acting and to protect his dream did not always come easy, especially in the absence of resources and tangible representations of what he aspired to become.
“Unlike in townships, we had no Art Centers. So, you would rather protect your dream by not sharing it with anyone as they would discourage you. Understandably so, because we had no idols to look up to except for policemen, nurses and people who did I.T,” he added.
Being the successful actor that he is today, Daweti remains grateful for his role on Scandal as it contributed immensely to his growth and allowed him to implement his knowledge.
“Chumani was my very first role of that magnitude, that’s when I had to apply all that I learnt over the years. From the days of community theatre in Cape Town back in 2012, to Tshwane University Of Technology in 2014 and even The Market Theatre laboratory part time classes and The Duma Ndlovu Academy. All those teachings had to be put to test”.
On Gomora, he gets to grow and learn even further – an experience which he labels as a blessing.
“It’s always nice to work with a new fresh cast and crew, as well as directors with different techniques and approaches. It has been wonderful,” he added.
Music & Style
Although an excellent actor, Tuckshop Bafanaz has always identified as a multidisciplinary artist with deep undying love for all things musical.
As such, the taking off of his music career was only a matter of time.
“My background is Musical Theatre. We used to sing, dance and act at festivals in both Cape Town and Joburg.
In varsity. I enrolled for Musical Theatre Studies, so it was going to be music first then acting. But of course, acting happened to work out first,” he explained.
True to his creative nature, Daweti has a sense of style that is unique and hard to ignore. His style is bold, sometimes colourful and often with a touch of vintage authenticity. Regardless of which look he chooses on any given day, you can rest assured that he’s dressed to express.
“There’s fashion and then there’s style. Fashion has everything to do with trends and style is who you are. My style is dependent on my mood for the day,” he shared.
Service above self
When he is not on set or working on his music, Daweti enjoys spending time at home in the Eastern Cape. This allows him to reboot and rejuvenate as he feels that the hustle and bustle of Joburg city life often carries negative and draining energy.
It is also in his village where he has been playing his part in giving back through community development for the past 7 years.
“I’ve been pushing a program under my NPO Nomalizo Foundation Emakhaya, the initiative is called Imbizo Emakhaya,” he said.
Every Easter, he brings sports and culture to his community. This way, youngsters with passions that lie outside of mainstream careers can have exposure and see that their dreams are reachable.
Going forward, he looks forward to growing this initiative even more in order to impact more people.
“We’re still looking forward to getting funding and sponsors, we’ve been honoured to have partnerships with organisations like Hollywood Bets and we were once funded by the National Arts Council. We are looking forward to getting more for the 2024 one.”